Darvocet is a synthetic opioid that can be used to treat mild-to-moderate pain. Chemically, it is similar to methadone. However, Darvocet produces immediate danger to anyone who consumes it, even taken exactly as prescribed. In fact, it has been banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration due to its inherent dangers.
Darvocet is a prescription medication made of a combination of propoxyphene and acetaminophen. By itself, propoxyphene was sold as a single-ingredient drug under the brand name Darvon. The FDA strongly urged against prescribing any drug with this ingredient because it could cause “serious toxicity to the heart.” It is also a highly addictive ingredient.
As Darvocet is no longer legally obtainable, some is still being sold on the streets and online in the black market.
Though it is chemically weaker than other opioids, if a person were to overdose on the drug, they could be dead in less than an hour. This is the most compelling reason why it is no longer legally available.
Darvocet was mainly developed to treat pain. Like other opioids, it relieves pain by binding to the brain’s opioid receptors and blocks pain signals. This provides the body to feel euphoric and sedated, feelings that those that misuse drugs seek.
Acetaminophen is the main ingredient in Tylenol and an over-the-counter medicine sold by itself. When it is combined with propoxyphene, the two ingredients work to increase the level of pain relief.
Darvocet was FDA-approved in 1972 as a medication to treat pain, but it was not long before the medical field was requesting it be removed from the market due to its extremely addictive properties and reports of arrhythmia. These serious problems the drug caused were not worth the minor pain-relieving benefits Darvocet offered.
Thirty years later, the FDA banned the manufacture of the drug in the U.S. Nonetheless, the generic form is still available through illicit means. People who use the drug for recreational purposes may crush the pill and snort the powder to feel its effects faster. However, the drug’s low potency had users using higher doses, which is inherently more dangerous because it caused fatal heart problems.
Darvocet can produce signs of addiction that should be known. These include:
An individual who is addicted to Darvocet may experience or show some of these signs and symptoms.
If you or someone you know is going through Darvocet withdrawal, it is likely the symptoms below could be felt. If an individual stops taking the drug suddenly, they are more likely to feel the symptoms more intensely, rather than if they were tapered off the drug. Those symptoms include:
Every person withdraws from substances differently based on factors unique to them. It may take one person less time than another to go through Darvocet withdrawal. It depends on the factors mentioned below:
The general timeline for Darvocet withdrawal is close to what it is for other opioids. Here is a basic guideline:
Days 1 and 2
You may feel symptoms within 10 to 14 hours from the last dose you took. You may experience early symptoms, such as sweating, nausea, vomiting, fever, muscle aches, cravings, and agitation.
Days 3 to 5
The symptoms you feel could peak within this three- to five-day period, which means you could feel the worst on one of the days before the symptoms begin to ease up. Nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and having chills are common.
Day 6 and Beyond
Most of the physical symptoms subside by day five. Nonetheless, the psychological ones could linger for weeks or months, including mood swings and cravings for the drug.
The above-mentioned timeline and the symptoms reported are compelling reasons why it is best to go through detox and withdrawal with help and support from dedicated addiction professionals.
The safest way to detox from Darvocet is to go into an accredited detox center. This is the first step in the continuum of care for a person struggling with Darvocet addiction.
The negative and very uncomfortable side effects from withdrawal of Darvocet are best managed by medical detoxification. In this setting, all of your symptoms will be treated, and your medical and psychological health is given the utmost attention, and you will be given dignity. Medical detox is safe.
Detoxing “cold turkey” is never a safe way to stop opioid use. Medical detox will help you manage the intense cravings you have in withdrawal to prevent your using the drug to ease them, as you could if going it alone.
Experienced substance use staff will start developing a treatment plan entailing the different therapies that could benefit your individual needs. After detox is complete, you will be able to suggest what you think will work best for you as you continue addiction treatment.
Since every person’s substance use is unique, so is their addiction treatment plan. What works best for one person may not work for you. It is your success that is emphasized and matters. As you progress from medical detox through treatment, your plan will change as you change.
Quitting opioids, including Darvocet cold turkey, is dangerous to do alone due to the way your nervous system adapts to drugs that are highly addictive. When you stop taking drugs abruptly, you could experience heart problems or seizures, or other life-threatening issues, as VeryWell Mind notes.
When you quit taking a substance suddenly, without tapering off it, your body loses tolerance for it quickly. If you relapse and take your usual dose of the drug, you risk overdose and possibly dying from an overdose.
Withdrawal symptoms from quitting cold turkey can be frightening and emotionally challenging. It is usually during this time that you could relapse.
Medical detox is the safest way, medically and psychologically, to withdraw from opioids, and especially Darvocet, due to its history of causing heart problems.
As previously mentioned, a Darvocet overdose can occur within one hour of taking the drug. When the drug is taken with alcohol or other substances, which can decrease breathing and make you sleepy, overdose is a real possibility.
The FDA reports that those who took Darvocet and died from overdose included:
It is vital to say that Darvocet should never be taken with alcohol, anti-depressants, benzodiazepines, hypnotics, or muscle relaxers.
Signs of Darvocet overdose are:
If any of these signs or symptoms are observed or felt, call for emergency services immediately.
About 10 million Americans were taking Darvocet before it was removed from the market.
The FDA found that there were 16 drug-related deaths per 10,000 prescriptions for propoxyphene (the troublesome ingredient in Darvocet) compared with 10 deaths related to tramadol and eight deaths for hydrocodone, as reported by ABC News in 2010.
There were 16 drug-related deaths per 100,000 prescriptions for propoxyphene, compared with 10 per 100,000 prescriptions for tramadol and eight deaths per 100,000 prescriptions for hydrocodone.
The consumer group called Public Citizen requested the removal of all products with propoxyphene in 1978 due to its addictive properties and strong overdose possibility. The request was denied, but a second petition was approved in 2006.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2018, February 7) FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA recommends against the continued use of propoxyphene. from https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-drug-safety-communication-fda-recommends-against-continued-use-propoxyphene
Drugs.com. (2020, May 28) Darvocet. from https://www.drugs.com/darvocet.html
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2009, September) Medication Guide. DARVOCET-N® 50. from https://www.fda.gov/media/78044/download
VeryWell Mind. (2019, October 2) The Risks of Quitting Cold Turkey. Hartney, E., BSc., MSc, MA, PhD. from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-the-risks-of-quitting-cold-turkey-21813
WebMD.(2010, November 19) Darvon, Darvocet Banned. DeNoon, D. , Dr. from https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20101119/darvon-darvocet-banned#1